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...Or, How to Make it Look Like You Don't Have Kids!

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When it comes to kids' stuff, the less of it you see, the more calm and uncluttered your home will feel. To minimize it from your sightline, I suggest designating a central repository (or two) for the majority of playthings to be housed (i.e. kids' room, playroom, basement, etc.). All other areas should be 'no parking' zones for toys in plain sight. (Click here for more on organizing kids' stuff).

Of course, you're going to need that LEGO set or firetruck to occupy your little one while you're in the kitchen making dinner or entertaining in the living room. This necessitates space for a few toys in your main living area. The best way to do this is by multitasking your existing furniture and storage. Below is a list of things that have served as toy storage, while preserving style in our living room.

1. TV Console

Our mid-century credenza does triple duty as a TV stand, junk drawers (more to come on junk drawers in a future post), and toy storage.

The two largest compartments stow toys, puzzles, books and bins of LEGO in all stages of completion. They're intentionally only semi-full to account for the inevitable trickle through of additional toys.

We got the above vintage credenza pre-loved from Guff in Toronto, a few years ago.


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2. Storage Bench

As far as utility goes, there's no single better piece of furniture: storage and seating in one! We don't have one (just yet...), but I've had my eye on the 'mid-century storage bench' from West Elm:


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Simplii storage ottoman

Rivet storage ottoman blue


3. Baskets

Baskets are a versatile way to store kids’ toys and books alongside your own miscellany. They're also a great way to add texture to a room. To introduce a further layer of concealment, you can stow the basket where the contents are out of sight, like under this side table in our living room:

Stick to items that lie lower than the basket rim for a cleaner look:

...Or cloak the contents with a throw:

Peek-a-boo, toys--I don't want to see you!

You can get the above baskets at CB2 and West Elm:


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4. Unused or Under-utilized Kitchen Cabinets

Just because they're in the kitchen doesn't mean you can't use kitchen cabinets for anything but food and cookware. Even if they're all spoken for, a little purge or rearranging can free up some space. Bonus if you can reclaim one out of the kids' reach. I’m not big on baking, so we use half of the baking tray storage cabinet for more kid's stuff. (I'm a veteran at repurposing kitchen cabinets and used to stash my underwear and socks in unused cutlery drawers in my bachelor suite days).

Our kitchen, just off of the living room.

Up here, keeping the baking trays company is a bin of markers, crayons, play doh, scissors and other implements of destruction.


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5. Any Hidden Nook or Cranny

We use the landing at the top of the basement stairs for toy storage. (We have a second unobstructed staircase to the basement at the back of the house). Using this area for storage came about organically when we installed the baby gate to cordon it off. It quickly became a layover for clutter before reaching its intended destination during quick tidies.

Once we organized the toys into bins for basement storage (our central repository), this area was the perfect fit for the rotating bins. (See this post for more on using rotating bins for toy storage).

Retractable baby gates are useful for awkward areas like this, as they can be installed at an angle and have an adjustable width.


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There you have it! This is how we *try to* maintain the illusion that a little person doesn't have the run of our home.

Of course, the less you have to hide, the easier it is to hide it.

Let me know what you think, or if you have any other tips please comment below.

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